Patriots star Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement from the NFL last weekend, instantly creating speculation that there will be an appearance from Gronk at WrestleMania. Impact Wrestling’s Moose believes Gronk is destined for the squared circle—but only for a match or two.
Moose is former NFL player Quinn Ojinnaka, and his career included a run with the Patriots in 2010, where he and the spectacularly talented—yet often injured—Gronkowski were teammates.
“I think Gronk’s going to sign with WWE, but he’s not going to make it his next career,” said Ojinnaka. “He can have a big match at WrestleMania or SummerSlam, but I know Gronk. People need to understand that his body has been through hell. Gronk can’t make this a career, but he can have a couple great matches.”
A small sampling of Gronkowski’s litany of injuries include two documented Grade 1 concussions, a torn ACL, torn MCL, surgery for back vertebral disc hernia, a chest lung bruise, and an arm forearm fracture in 2013 that led to three surgeries. Gronkowski’s back issues date back to his college days, when he missed all of his junior season in 2009 after undergoing back surgery.
“If Gronk were healthy, he would have made a perfect wrestler,” said Ojinnaka. “He’s athletic, has size, and he is so charismatic. But his body has been through way too much.”
Gronkowski played for Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who is known for his football acumen, willingness to win at all costs, and a cold-blooded nature in his decision-making. If Gronkowski does enter WWE, Ojinnaka is confident that he will never encounter anyone like Belichick.
“Bill Belichick is the equivalent of ten Vince McMahons mixed into one,” said Ojinnaka. “There is no one else like Belichick.”
Ojinnaka even noted that comparisons between Gronkowski and UFC trailblazer Ronda Rousey, who successfully transitioned from MMA to WWE, are unfair.
“Ronda is a legend, but she didn’t fight as long as Gronk played in the NFL, and the NFL is way more taxing on your body than UFC,” said Ojinnaka. “The surgeries in the NFL really add up, and Gronk has had so many, even back surgery. Guys have been targeting his lower body for years, so think of the damage that did to his knees.”
Ojinnaka is articulate and insightful outside of the ring, but enters into another dimension in the ring as the explosive Moose. While he will not be performing at WrestleMania, Moose is an integral part of Impact Wrestling’s United We Stand pay-per-view, which takes place on Thursday, April 4.
The show features a dynamic card that includes Rob Van Dam and Sabu teaming up to face Pentagon and Fenix, as well as an intergender match between Joey Ryan and Tessa Blanchard. There is also an eight-man tag between Team Impact and Team Lucha Underground as Moose, Brian Cage, Eddie Edwards, and a mystery partner square up against four spectacular Lucha Underground talents in King Cuerno, Aerostar, Drago, and Daga.
“I’m the team captain since I’m ‘Mr. Impact Wrestling,’ and we’re going to put on a hell of a match and get the victory for Team Impact,” said Ojinnaka. “No matter who our mystery partner is, I’m going to make sure you remember this match.
“There is so much wrestling next week, but this is going to be one of the best cards out—and you will see the best of Moose.”
Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.